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Japanese destroyer Kikuzuki (1926)
Kikuzuki in October 1932
Career Naval Ensign of Japan.svg
Name: Kikuzuki
Namesake: Japanese destroyer Kikuzuki (1907)
Owner: Empire of Japan
Operator: Imperial Japanese Navy
Builder: Maizuru Naval Arsenal, Japan
Yard number: Destroyer No. 31
Laid down: June 15, 1925
Launched: May 15, 1926
Commissioned: November 20, 1926
Renamed: as Kikuzuki August 1, 1928
Struck: May 25, 1942
Fate: combat loss May 5, 1942
General characteristics
Type: Destroyer
Displacement: 1,315 long tons (1,336 t) normal,
1,445 long tons (1,468 t) full load
Length: 97.54 m (320.0 ft) pp,
102.72 m (337.0 ft) overall
Beam: 9.16 m (30.1 ft)
Draught: 2.96 m (9.7 ft)
Propulsion: 4 x Ro-Gō Kampon water-tube boilers
2 x Kampon geared turbines
38,500 ihp (28,700 kW); 2 shafts
Speed: 37.25 knots (68.99 km/h)
Range: 3600 nm @ 14 knots
(6,700 km at 26 km/h)
Complement: 154
Service record
Part of: Destroyer Division 23
Operations: Second Sino-Japanese War
Invasion of Guam
Solomon Islands campaign

The rusting hulk of Kikuzuki, photographed on Tulagi in August 1943 after U.S. forces dragged the wreckage onto the beach.

Kikuzuki (菊月 ”chrysanthemum moon”?)[1] was one of twelve Mutsuki-class destroyers, built for the Imperial Japanese Navy following World War I. Advanced for their time, these ships served as first-line destroyers through the 1930s, but were considered obsolescent by the start of the Pacific War.[2]

The ship's name, Kikuzuki, is also a reference to the ninth month of the lunar calendar.


Construction of the Mutsuki-class destroyers was authorized as part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's build up following the abandonment of the Washington Naval Treaty from fiscal 1923. The class was a follow-on to the earlier Minekaze-class and Kamikaze class destroyers, with which they shared many common design characteristics.[3] Kikuzuki, built at the Maizuru Naval Arsenal, was laid down on June 15, 1925, launched on May 15, 1926 and commissioned on November 20, 1926.[4] Originally commissioned simply as "Destroyer No. 31”, it was assigned the name Kikuzuki on August 1, 1928.

In the late 1930s, Kikuzuki participated in combat actions in the Second Sino-Japanese War, covering the landings of Japanese troops in central and southern China, and the invasion of French Indochina.

World War II history

At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kikuzuki was part of Desron 23 under Carrier Division 2 in the IJN 1st Air Fleet, and deployed from Hahajima in the Ogasawara Islands as part of the Japanese invasion force for the invasion of Guam. She returned to Truk in early January 1942 to join the invasion force for "Operation R" in Kavieng, New Ireland on January 23, returning to Truk one month later.[5] In March, Kikuzuki assisted in covering landings of Japanese forces during "Operation SR" in the northern Solomon Islands, Lae and Admiralty Islands.[6] She was reassigned to the IJN 4th Fleet on April 10.

Participating in "Operation Mo", during the invasion of Tulagi from May 3–4, 1942, Kikuzuki was torpedoed by United States Navy aircraft from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-5) in Tulagi harbor, killing 12 crewmen and injuring 22 others. The submarine chaser Toshi maru No.3 towed her to the beach at Gatuvu Island and took off the survivors. Kikuzuki then slid back into the water during the next high tide cycle and sank 09°07′S 160°12′E / 9.117°S 160.2°E / -9.117; 160.2Coordinates: 09°07′S 160°12′E / 9.117°S 160.2°E / -9.117; 160.2[7]

Kikuzuki was struck from the navy list on May 25, 1942.[8]

After the capture of Tulagi by American forces, the USS Prometheus (AR-3) salvaged the wreck, hoping to obtain military intelligence.


  • Brown, David (1990). Warship Losses of World War Two. Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-55750-914-X. 
  • Howarth, Stephen (1983). The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun: The Drama of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1895–1945. Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-11402-8. 
  • Jentsura, Hansgeorg (1976). Warships of the Imperial Japanese Navy, 1869–1945. US Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-893-X. 
  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). The Struggle for Guadalcanal, August 1942 – February 1943, vol. 5 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-58305-7. 
  • Nelson, Andrew N. (1967). Japanese–English Character Dictionary. Tuttle. ISBN 0-8048-0408-7. 
  • Watts, Anthony J (1967). Japanese Warships of World War II. Doubleday. ASIN B000KEV3J8. 
  • Whitley, M J (2000). Destroyers of World War Two: An International Encyclopedia. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-521-8. 

External links


  1. Nelson. Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Page 781
  2. Jones, Daniel H. (2003). "IJN Minekaze, Kamikaze and Mutsuki class Destroyers". Ship Modeler's Mailing List (SMML). 
  3. Howarth, The Fighting Ships of the Rising Sun.
  4. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  5. Morison. The Rising Sun in the Pacific 1931 - April 1942.
  6. Dull. A Battle History of the Imperial Japanese Navy
  7. Nishidah, Hiroshi (2002). "Mutsuki class 1st class destroyers". Materials of the Imperial Japanese Navy. 
  8. Nevitt, Allyn D. (1997). "IJN Kikuzuki: Tabular Record of Movement". Long Lancers. 

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